During 1524, encouraged by Luther’s concept of the freedom of a Christian man, which they applied to economic and social spheres, German peasants revolted against their lords. Long ground down by the nobles, the peasants included in their twelve demands the abolition of serfdom — unless it could be justified from the gospel — and relief from the excessive services demanded of them.
At first, Luther recognized the justice of the peasants’ complaints, but when they turned to violence against established authority, he lashed out against them. In a virulent pamphlet, Against the Thievish and Murderous Hordes of Peasants, Luther called on the princes to "knock down, strangle, and stab … and think nothing so venomous, pernicious, or Satanic as an insurgent."
In 1525 the princes and nobles crushed the revolt at a cost of an estimated 100,000 peasant lives. The surviving peasants considered Luther a false prophet. Many of them returned to Catholicism or turned to more radical forms of the Reformation.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Peasant’s-Revolt, Reformation[/tags]
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